No Hoax This Time: Heavy-Metal Star Peter Steele Dead

Five years after website prank fueled reports of his demise, Type O Negative frontman felled by heart failure at age 48

By Joal Ryan Apr 15, 2010 8:10 PMTags
Peter SteelePhoto by George De Sota/Getty Images

Word today that Type O Negative frontman Peter Steele had died was met with initial skepticism. Five years ago, after all, the heavy-metal band with the death fixation (as if there were another kind) gave fans a scare with a tombstone-styled website redesign.

Then, reports of Steele's death weren't true. Now, sadly, they are.

We spoke with a rep for Type O Negative's management firm, who confirmed the singer/bassist had passed away. Roadrunner Records, the band's original label, said the rocker succumbed to heart failure on Wednesday. He was 48.

In its release, Roadunner remembered the deep-voiced, 6-foot-8-inch Steele as "a man who towered over everyone he met, not just in his physical stature but in his personality riddled with humor and heartache."

The Brooklyn-born musician formed Type O Negative in 1989. The platinum-record-selling outfit released seven albums, including 2007's Dead Again.

Steele posed for Playgirl in 1995, and scored publicity for his band as well as a hot seat on Jerry Springer out of the deal. 

In 2004, a Type O Negative tour was postponed so Steele could undergo tests for "undisclosed anomalies." That development, followed months later by the tombstone graphic marked with Steele's birth year and "death" year, fueled the earlier, erroneous obituaries.

In 2005, Steele did a stint in jail, as well as one in a "mental institution" for "drug-induced psychosis," he was quoted as saying.


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